I read an interesting blog post today from a local art community site provided by Arts Connect here in Topeka. It pictured the well known food pyramid and compared the need for balance in ones diet to balancing the arts for ones enjoyment of life, I found the comparison remarkably accurate. The post brings up some of the issues going on in this community of which would not be of any concern unless you lived here, but the points made could and do apply to people regardless of where they live.

We all know the importance of balance in ones diet, using the popular food pyramid; breads, cereal, rice and pasta group making up a big portion followed by fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, fish and dried beans, dairy, and finally fats, oils and sweets. We all may have our own slightly different version of this but in general it’s a good balance to go by to build a strong and healthy body, each one plays it own special part in overall health. In today’s world balance seems far from what many seem to want, a mindset that if a little of something is good then a lot must be better is not uncommon. In turn we take form the lesser to give to the greater, example: eat less meat and eat more bread since grains make up the biggest portion of the pyramid. The example was given concerning our own local needs for maintaining a thriving city and community. There are many repairs that need done with the infrastructure of this city which is vital to the health of community. We need proper law enforcement, fire protection and human services, again all vital to keep a city strong and healthy. When these vital services begin to fail they must be boosted up but that raises the question of how? Were do the monies come from when more must be put into the so called “vital” organs of a community, other services and activity must be cut to feed the greater need. Of these other services or activities art is always on the list or more properly put, art is always on the chopping block. Why? I have no doubt that many people will simply say, we don’t need art, we need our streets fixed! That in general is true, but if you think of art not as building block of the body but as a nourishment for the mind what good will it do to have great roads if there is no place interesting to go. What good will a healthy body be if you have no mind in which to use with it. The arts may or probably should come in to play if using the food pyramid as an example at the level of sweets possibly even yogurt and dairy. One does not need to focus entirely on the art community but it surely mustn’t disregard it as not needed. Food for the mind and soul is every bit as important as food for the body. A healthy balance must be the goal a community has to ensure all parts of life are nourished properly.

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© Brad Mangas

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